The tall, rugged cliffs of Folegandros have been noted through history, and its capital, Chora, sits high atop the rocks. But the Greek island, which is a few hours’ ferry ride from Athens, also has its fair share of sandy beaches.
Folegandros stands out from its neighbours in the Cyclades cluster with its rugged, wild feel – yet it also has that white sand and turquoise water that so many Greek islands feature. Folegandros is around a four-hour ferry ride from Athens or a quick hour from Santorini, and once you’re here, you’ll want to collapse onto one of these picturesque beaches.
Katergo may be secluded, but it’s one of the most popular beaches on Folegandros. Located at the southeast side of the island, it’s easiest to access by boat, but if you’re feeling more adventurous, you can hike about 30 minutes from Livadi village. It’s worth it: swim to the smooth rock outcroppings just offshore, perfect for tanning and jumping straight into the blue.
This beach may not be the best place to escape the crowds – it’s especially popular during the summer months – but it’s worth it for the colour the water turns when it’s hit by the sun. Agali means “to hug” in Greek, and the small cliffs surrounding the beach wrap their arms around this cove to keep the water calm and very swimmable.
Galifos is just a 10-minute walk from Agali Beach, but much more private. This tiny strip of sun-bleached pebbles is popular with nudists and young travellers. Slightly up the hill, you’ll find a few rooms to rent – with no electricity and just gas lamps, you’ll get the full “living on the beach” experience.
Karavostasis is another family-friendly favourite, and its position close to the port makes it an easy-access choice for all ages. The shore is rocky, but once you’re in the water it’s boundless sand and clear waves. The area has lots of long walks and other beaches around, making it a great place to start your day.
This small, sandy beach on the east coast of the island is an easy walk from Karavostasis and overlooks the settlement and port. It’s not too far from bars and restaurants, and the water is shallow enough for families to enjoy. But bring plenty to drink anyway, because Latinaki Beach is difficult to leave.
This little beach is the choice of many locals, making it less touristy and instead a relatively tranquil choice. Craggy orange cliffs along one side of the water mean the best vantage point on the whole beach is a short hike uphill, where you can see a stunning sunset almost every night.
This beach on the northwest side of the island is accessible from Agali by boat or by trail, a gorgeous walk that will take you past the Saints Anargiri church, built in the 1960s. Bring snacks and water – there aren’t any shops around here. Once you’re at the beach, a slightly more difficult hike at just over 1km (0.6mi) will take you to the lighthouse of Aspropounta.